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How to Solve Interference Problem in GSM Network

The solution for interference problem depends on the following


factors
1. Whether interferer comes from internal or external source
2. What is the cause of internal interference, whether it were
caused by bad frequency planning, site location, coverage
problem or implementation problem.

The following flow chart shows how to overcome interference


problem in the network
The potential interferer can be identified by displaying the
cells using the same or adjacent frequency (frequencies)
geographically.
The other solution to reduce interference level in the network
is activation radio network features. The following radio
features are proposed to be activated to reduce interference
level in the network:
1. Discontinuous Transmission (DTX)
2. BTS and MS Power Control
3. Frequency Hopping
4. Multiband Cell can be an alternative for operator who has
limited frequency bandwidth. It will reduce interference level
by using common BCCH. Another benefits to have multiband
cell are trunking gain, simplify neighbouring system and high
configuration site

How to Identify Interference in GSM Network (1)

One major challenge when optimizing GSM network is the detection of cells
suffering from interference as interference is limiting the capacity and harming the
quality of the network. This problem occurred due to limited bandwidth and limited
number of carrier frequency.
There are two categories of interference source that are:
- Internal Interference: Co-channel or Adjacent channel interference causing
internal interference.
- External Interference: Exists when there is another transmitter or something else
acting as a transmitter outside the network such as TV transmission, Railway
Station frequency, and microwave links.
Interference Identification using Radio Network Statistic
Radio network statistic (RNS) can be used to analyze if specific cells suffer from
interference and which frequency channels are involved. A cell in GSM can suffer
from interference either in the uplink or downlink or in both directions. As the
interference is related to the frequency or a set of frequencies in case of frequency
hopping, it is interesting to see which TRX suffers from interference if interference
happened in BCCH TRX or Hopping TRX. The interesting parameter in this case is
the assigned frequency to the individual TRX. After the disturbed cell and the
related frequencies are identified, potential interferer cell can be identified. For this
purpose a geographical analysis can be performed. Frequency retune becomes the
solution if BCCH frequency suffers from interference. In case TCH frequency
further identification shall be performed if hopping system is assigned to TRX’s.
There are several indicators from Radio Network Statistics that can be used to
identify the interference in the network.
1. The correlation between RxLevel to RxQual.
An indication for interference will be that the receive level is good but at the same
time the receive quality is poor. This can be analysed for both directions (uplink and
downlink) separately. It is better to have this figure for BCCH TRX and hopping
TRX so we can identify whether interference exists at BCCH TRX, Individual TRX
(non-hopping case) or Hopping TRX.

2. Drop Call Performance.


Usually when the cell has interference problem, the drop call will be higher than
usual, but it depends on severity of interference level
3. Handover Performance.
Intra Cell Handover indicates that cell suffers from bad quality at good level. The
HO performance to neighbor relation that has interference will look bad. The other
indicator is a lot of reversion to old channel activity due to target frequency might
be interfered.

Another ways to identify internal interference in GSM network is by scanning


frequency at idle mode. At this case, GSM recommendation introduces reference
value of interference level (GSM Recommendation. 05.05).
The actual interference ratio is defined as the interference ratio for which this
performance is met. The actual interference ratio shall be less than a specified limit,
called the reference interference ratio. The reference value of interference will show
co-channel interference(C/Ic) and adjacent channel interference (C/Ia).

The following figure shows sample of result of scanning frequency using Tems
Investigation.
C/Ia calculation shows that carrier to interference level of first adjacent (200KHz
spacing) and second adjacent (400 KHz spacing) exceeds minimum value of
interference level (-9 dB for first adjacent and -41 dB for second adjacent). So, we
can conclude that there is no interference to channel 512.
Distribution C/I from drive test with dedicated mode also can be used as figure to
describe level interference on drive test route. We can do analysis separately
between C/I distribution on BCCH carrier and C/I on Hopping list carrier.
External interference can’t be detected using drive test tool. As instead, scanning
frequency using spectrum analyzer is used to observe the source of external
frequency.